Frameline 2018: Wild Nights with Emily

Wild Nights With Emily (Molly Shannon, Susan Ziegler). Credit: Anna Stypko

Wild Nights with Emily offers a look at poet Emily Dickinson with an approach that only writer/director Madeline Olnek can tell.

Through her role in Other People and the Sundance-premiering Private Life, Saturday Night Live alumnus Molly Shannon has proven to have a wider range as an actress.  Her role as Emily Dickinson proves to be no different in what may very well be one of the best lesbian comedies in years.

Through Olnek’s script, we have an idea of what life was like for the poet.  Her real life, that is.  Not the cover up that some people would have you believe.  The poet is said to have had a relationship with her sister-in-law, Susan (Susan Ziegler), and the film certainly explores this aspect.  Susan becomes engaged to Emily’s brother, Austin (Kevin Seal), and they live next door to Emily.  This move perfectly convenient during in era in which being outed as gay or lesbian would be career-ending.  It makes for a super quick walk of shame!

If narrator Mabel Loomis Todd (Amy Seimetz), best known as Austin’s mistress, were to be believed, the poet would be a recluse.  Most of Emily’s writing went on to be published after her death.  The first collection of poems had been published in 1890 by Todd and editor T.W. Higginson (Brett Gelman).  It was heavily edited to say the least.

After watching Wild Nights with Emily, what we know about Emily Dickinson’s life will never be the same!

CAST: Molly Shannon, Amy Seimetz, Susan Ziegler, Brett Gelman, Jackie Monahan, Kevin Seal, Dana Melanie, Sasha Frolova, Lisa Haas, Al Sutton

An official selection of the Frameline42: San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, Wild Nights with Emily screens as the Centerpiece feature. Wild Nights with Emily premiered during the 2018 SXSW Film Festival in the Narrative Spotlight program.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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